Here are the most recent rugby headlines on the evening of Sunday, May 1
Dragons boss lashes out
Dean Ryan has hit out at the two “moments of madness” which saw his Dragons humiliated by Italian minnows Zebre.
The Dragons’ woeful season continued when the rock-bottom Italians won 23-18 – their first victory of the season. Ryan’s side were leading 18-11 heading into the last 20 minutes, only for No.10 Sam Davies and wing Jared Rosser to receive yellow cards.
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And boss Ryan wasn’t holding back in his criticism as he surveyed the wreckage afterwards. “We go from a situation where we are in the lead to suddenly being down to 13 men and we are under the pump. It’s another game that we get into a position where we have got control, but then we have moments of madness,” said Ryan.
“Then 10 minutes of that game drifts away until we can get back organization wise. We have got to take responsibility for what happened. The players have got to take responsibility for being a situation where we are in control of a game to suddenly having to spend ten minutes with 13 men.”
The Dragons wind up a torrid season by meeting the Ospreys away, before finishing with Rodney Parade clashes against Cardiff and South African side the Lions.
Peel demands European spot
Scarlets boss Dwayne Peel is demanding his players go guns blazing in their final match to pip the Ospreys for a Welsh Champions Cup berth.
The Ospreys threw the battle wide open with the 56-34 destruction of their Welsh rivals on Saturday, a game Peel said his side were their own worst enemies in. The result means the Scarlets can’t finish above Edinburgh or Glasgow in eighth place, meaning there will be no Welsh representation in the United Rugby Championship play-offs.
It leaves the Scarlets and Ospreys battling it out to finish top of the Welsh Shield, the competition within a competition which guarantees a Champions Cup spot for the winners.
The Scarlets still have the edge, with a five-point lead over their big rivals, but they need to secure maximum points in their remaining game at home to the Stormers on May 21 to be certain of finishing top. The Ospreys have two matches left, each at home, against the Dragons next weekend and then the Bulls.
Peel said: “We want to finish the season well. We have to dust ourselves down. The players have had nine weeks back to back so we will have some time off this week which is needed and then we will hit the two weeks into the Stormers game with everything we have got so we can finish well in front of our fans.”
Of Saturday’s hammering he said: “I thought the first 20 minutes of the second half we weren’t in the fight, to be honest. It was disappointing, we were our own worst enemy and that is what cost us.”
England domination makes Six Nations ‘boring’
England’s continued domination of the Women’s Six Nations is in danger of making the tournament ‘boring’, warns a national newspaper.
The Red Roses won the Grand Slam and their fifth title in six years with a 10th successive win over France. They had earlier “butchered Wales and trampled over Ireland,” as well as comfortably overcoming Scotland and Italy, according to the Telegraph.
In a strongly-worded comment piece, the paper says it is up to other home unions to close the gap, stating: “How many times can England win this thing before it starts becoming overly predictable and, for want of a better word, boring ?
“Will fans start switching off? Will audience levels begin to wane? Will broadcasters lose interest? A penny for the thoughts of the BBC, which has already signed up for another three years of broadcasting the competition – probably the only one in the world where you can comfortably predict next year’s winners.
“While this new-look female championship is thriving in its own standalone window away from the men’s, there is an uncomfortable sense of malaise. If other unions do not pull their socks up and start pumping similar levels of investment into their women’s teams, the integrity of the Women’s Six Nations will be in tatters.”
Wales, of course, have recently begun to make significant strides by awarding first professional contracts to 12 players. They began their own campaign with victories over Ireland and Scotland, but were then heavily defeated by England and France and disappointingly lost to Italy.
England put 57 points on Scotland, 74 on Italy, thrashed Wales 58-5, slaughtered Ireland 69-0 and then won 24-12 in France.